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Brooke Mayo

You could say my career as a photographer started with dogs. I’ve actually had an interest in dogs longer than photography, but a series of dog portraits from my uncle really piqued my interested in capturing dog’s moments with a camera. Combining the best of both worlds, photography and dogs, has allowed me to grow as an artist.

After studying photography at Appalachian State University and The University of Western Sydney in Australia, I worked with Joyce Tenneson and Lois Greenfield in New York City. Traveling to some of the most fascinating places on earth allowed me to gain experience and solidify my love of photography. During this time, I also realized my childhood home was a place I wanted to call “home” again, and I moved to the Outer Banks in 2003.

A major part of my photography business in North Carolina is weddings, but it’s my “Underwater Dogs” project that truly captures my heart. I thrive on the unseen moments underwater – those few precious seconds that are missed observing playtime above water. Taking my camera below the surface of the water allowed me to explore another world that created so much joy for dogs. I have a love and admiration for the unconditional acceptance that a doggie friend can share with its owner. I enjoy playing with my own dogs and discovered how their personalities serve as entertaining and heart-warming subjects, but it was while my dogs were splashing through the water that the true spirit and freedom of being a dog was apparent.

I have always known how happy it makes my dogs to jump in the water after a toy, but I never viewed their expressions and the diligence they use to retrieve something for me. Not only do they love it, but they enjoy it even more because it makes me happy. Dogs want to please, so while diving to the bottom of a pool is super fun for them, they thrive on us being excited when they bring their toy back. You can see it in their faces – they dive with their eyes wide open searching for their toy and scramble back to you, as if it were the one thing they lived for.

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